SIL turn will come again vows chief
PUBLISHED: 12:44 14 February 2002 | UPDATED: 11:21 03 March 2010
SOCCER: Saturday's Suffolk Senior Cup semi-finals have an unfamiliar look about them - for the first time in ages no Metaltec SIL team is involved. But SIL chief executive Alan Gorham today refuted suggestions that the county's main Saturday league has been overtaken.
SATURDAY'S Suffolk Senior Cup semi-finals have an unfamiliar look about them – for the first time in ages no Metaltec SIL team is involved.
But SIL chief executive Alan Gorham today refuted suggestions that the county's main Saturday league has been overtaken.
"It is someone else's turn this year," said Gorham, who has been secretary of the league since 1974.
The SIL has supplied the Senior Cup winner 17 times in the last 25 years and this will be only the third occasion during that time when the league has failed to provide a finalist.
This Saturday, AFC Sudbury Reserves from the Border League play holders Kirkley from the Anglian Combination, while two Jewson League Division One sides slug it out in the other tie – Leiston and Haverhill Rovers. The final takes place at Portman Road in April.
"Our turn will come again," added Gorham. "This is the magic of cup
competitions. In the FA Cup both Premiership title favourites, Manchester United and Liverpool, have been knocked out. It happens.
"I am sure the SIL will be represented in force again next season."
Teams from the SIL feed into the First Division of the Jewson in the Football Association's order of progression, and clubs like Hadleigh, Whitton, Needham Market and Leiston have followed this path in the last decade.
Gorham is happy to link himself with those who knock this division – with some critics having called it a 'nothing league.'
"I can remember telling the Whitton United dinner after they gained entry to the Jewson League that they needed to get out of the First Division as soon as they could," said Gorham.
"And I stand by that. The important part of the Jewson League is its Premier Division.
"A number of their clubs would not be able to play in the SIL because they do not have good enough facilities.
"When Brantham dropped down from the Jewson League a few years ago we had to make a special effort to allow them to play in our Senior Division. The club has worked hard to improve their standards since."
The main long-term worry for Gorham is the gradual loss of pitches. "The way things are going Saturday clubs will soon be hunting around desperate for places to play.
"So many grounds have been lost in recent seasons in the Ipswich area. I read of huge quantities of government money being made available, but I have yet to see any benefits."
The FA's Football Foundation has helped provide an all-weather floodlit pitch at Gainsborough Sports Centre and once suitable dressing rooms have been completed this will be able to cater for senior football.
"This is good news, but there is a need for much more to satisfy the requirements of those who want to play our national game in the Ipswich area."